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Energy Systems Catapult calls for responses to its Data Best Practice Guidance

The draft includes 12 suggestions for data handling in the energy sector.

The draft includes 12 suggestions for data handling in the energy sector.

The Energy Systems Catapult has released a draft of its Data Best Practice Guidance, including suggestions into how to make data safe, interoperable and discoverable, to ensure that it can aid the UK in moving towards a net zero energy system.

It includes 12 suggestions for data handling in the energy sector. The first is that data should be accurately described using industry metadata. It recommends the Dublin Core ‘Core Elements’ metadata standard be adopted throughout the sector, which includes 15 core elements that data can be broadly defined with.

The benefit of the Dublin Core elements is that metadata can then be shared independently of the dataset it is part of.

The second suggestion focuses on ensuring that datasets are discoverable, as that is the only way the data can be realised. It highlights that being discoverable and accessible are not the same, and includes a number of suggested discoverability techniques.

Next the guidance suggests that data, metadata and supporting information should use common terms.

Suggestions four, five and six look at data custodians, encouraging them to learn and understand data users, to make sure that they have the datasets needed to make data understandable, and to identify the stakeholders so they can better understand who will use the data.

The seventh suggestion calls for improvements in the quality of the data collected, as although “data is not perfect” it says, we should constantly be looking at its accuracy and seeking to improve it where possible.

Eight and nine look at presumed open data, highlighting that any data related to open assets should be presumed open. All presumed open data should go through the Open Data Triage, to consider themes such as privacy, security, commercial and consumer impact issue.

Following this process, a decision can be made as to whether the data can be made open, and if not, mitigation processes should be shared and there will be the ability to challenge the decision to keep the data closed.

Data should be interoperable, both with other data and other digital services, the draft then suggests. Point 11 highlights the need to protect data and systems, in accordance with security, privacy and resilience best practice.

The final point in the draft is around storing and archiving the data, to ensure that it can be maximised. It suggests that where possible the most granular data should be stored, and in such a way that the risk of it being lost due to technical difficulties is minimised.

The draft mentions that Northern Powergrid has recently proposed a novel way to store data, in a non-aggregated format, but it will strictly enforce that data can only be extracted and viewed in an aggregated format.

The Energy Systems Catapult has called for responses to the Data Best Practice Guidance draft via email, and is also hosting a number of events throughout January to encourage stakeholder engagement.

The guidance follows on from five recommendations made by the Energy Data Taskforce, a part of the Catapult, in June, in a report commissioned by the government, Ofgem and Innovate UK into how data can help the UK meet its net zero ambition.

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